Summer 2019 sees British holidaymakers favour non-EU destinations

Holiday destinations for British tourists
The top destinations for British travellers. Photo: Thomas Cook

In a year of political turmoil, more British holidaymakers are choosing countries outside of the EU for their well-earned break in the sun this summer.

To date, 48% of Thomas Cook’s UK package holiday bookings for this summer are to non-Euro destinations, up 10 percentage points on the same time last year.

As revealed by Thomas Cook’s 2019 UK Holiday Report, Turkey is the biggest beneficiary of this shift, leapfrogging Greece to become this summer’s second most popular package holiday destination – at this point in 2018 it ranked at number three. Additionally, Turkey accounts for a quarter of all Thomas Cook Airlines flight-only bookings so far. Aside from its attractiveness for being outside of the EU, Turkey’s value for money and diversity, with sandy beaches, salt lakes and ancient ruins, is driving its position as a 2019 tourism hotspot.

Tunisia is also faring well. In what will be its second summer back on the map for British holidaymakers,  package bookings to Tunisia are double what they were compared to last year and flight-only bookings with Thomas Cook Airlines are up four-fold.

It is now clear that the prolonged uncertainty around the manner and timing of Britain’s exit from the European Union has led many to delay their decision on when and where they book for their summer holidays. However, the Holiday Report shows that an overseas summer holiday remains as important as ever to the nation. More than half of those surveyed say they are more likely to holiday abroad than last year and over a quarter claim that a foreign holiday is higher on their spending priorities than in 2018 – only 8% said it was lower.

For those who have booked, the peace of mind of all-inclusive is proving popular. To date, 66% of Thomas Cook’s package holiday bookings are all-inclusive – slightly up on 2018 – as customers “lock in” costs for food and drink to avoid losing out to the unsteady British Pound.

Will Waggott, Chief of Tour Operating for Thomas Cook, said: “Britain may be living through unique times from a political perspective, however our desire to holiday abroad is clear. Thomas Cook’s 2019 Holiday Report reveals that the political turmoil is having an impact in other ways, revealing itself in a clear shift to non-EU countries and a growth in all-inclusive. Turkey has already overtaken Greece to claim the number two spot of most desirable summer destinations and Tunisia is working its way back up the popularity stakes as it re-establishes itself as a hotspot for British tourists.”

Thomas Cook’s 2019 UK Holiday Report also reveals that a year on since the end of Club 18-30, today’s younger generation of holidaymakers are ‘healing not peeling’ as they prioritise relaxing and recharging rather than tanning and clubbing. The Report also shows that many of us ditch our eco-intentions the moment we step off the plane.

The top five destinations for summer 2019:

1. Spain (mainland Spain, the Balearics and the Canary Islands)

2. Turkey

3. Greece

4. USA

5. Cyprus

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